IMT personnel conduct inspect the new Magarwak facility. The first floor contains private rooms intended for seniors, PWDs, and pediatric cases. (PN File Photo)

The primary COVID-19 isolation and treatment facility in Puerto Princesa City’s Sitio Magarwak, Barangay Sta. Lourdes is 98 percent complete for Phase 1 of its development, according to project contractor GSMAXX.

Phases 2 and 3 will, however, be completed by whoever wins the project’s next public bidding.

“Ang pondo ng Phase 2 ay nandyan na. Hoping this coming February, maayos na ang bidding process para ‘yong second phase nito ay tuloy-tuloy nang magawa. Sa [budget], hindi ko matiyak kung P120-million o P180-million,” city councilor and health committee chairperson Roy Ventura said in an interview on Wednesday.

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Ward room intended for treating mild to moderate COVID-19 cases. According to Dr. Eunice Herrera of the IMT, curtains will be set up for privacy. (PN File)

Ventura, along with the personnel of the city Incident Management Team (IMT), conducted an inspection on the site on the same day.

The 100-bed capacity facility has 36 private rooms on the ground floor intended for seniors, PWDs, and pediatric cases. It also has four wards meant to treat mild to moderate cases. According to IMT chief Dr. Dean Palanca, who was also at the inspection on Wednesday, they aim to treat patients with comorbidities infected with COVID-19 at the facility.

“Dito iti-treat ang mga mild to moderate cases. Kapag sinabing moderate, ito ang may difficulty of breathing. Pero ang severe cases, sa hospital pa rin, ‘yon ‘yong kailangan ng ventilators. Kasi dito wala tayong mga ventilators,” Palanca said.

“[Sa hotel facilities], depende pa rin kung kakailanganin pa rin in the future. Kasi kapag asymptomatic o mild, madalas sa bahay na lang pinapa-quarantine,” he added.

Palanca stated that based on their inspections, the facility might be functional by March if Phase 1 is completed on time. GSMAXX engineers stated during the inspection that they still need to install electrical and water supply, as well as split-type airconditioning units for the isolation rooms.

Meanwhile, GSMAXX president Sammy James Sioson admitted that the project’s completion was delayed due to restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that the project, which began in July 2020 was supposed to be complete by December 2021.

“Sumunod kami sa protocols. Nag-50 percent workforce kami kaya na-delay kami, kasi ini-inspection din kami ng IMT kung sumusunod kami sa protocols. Nagkakaroon pa ng curfew, ang mga workers nasisita [kapag ginagabi sa trabaho],” Sioson said.

According to assistant project engineer Kevin Canilla, the total budget for Phase 1 of the project was at P54,540,000.

IMT director for quarantine facilities Dr. Eunice Herrera also said that once the building is operational, it will be the city’s primary treatment facility for COVID-19 patients.

“Tanggap na natin na COVID is here to stay. Dito na rin maa-assign ang ibang staff namin once na operational na ito,” Herrera said.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.